REU in Interdisciplinary Evolutionary Science

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Interdisciplinary Evolutionary Sciences - Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)

Program Details

The focus of this REU is training in evolutionary science, with students working on research projects across several disciplines. Several academic departments at the University of Iowa offer research projects that span a range of topics, including evolution of behavior, origin of species, cancer evolution, evolution of sex, paleontology, and the evolution of disease. Study organisms span a large range of taxa, and include: flies, snails, fungi, viruses, wasps, human cancer cells, beetles, and disease-causing bacteria and protozoa. Iowa DarwinStudents work on one project, but through interactions with their cohort ultimately receive a broad exposure to evolutionary science. As part of the program, students: receive training in research best practices, participate in career workshops, create a digital exhibit based on their research for the University of Iowa Natural History Museum, and make formal research presentations based on their work. Housing, a meal allowance, stipend ($6,250), and a travel allowance are provided to all participants.

Link to the Summer 2024 Application Portal

    Mentors and Project Areas (click on links to learn more about each mentor and their research programs)


    flyDr. Dan Eberl - Reception of courtship song in dipteran insects 


    Image result for saccharomyces cerevisiaeDr. Jan Fassler - Variation in sequence and functions of glutamine rich proteins


    StaphDr. Anthony Fischer - Evolution of Staphylococcus aureus during chronic respiratory infections


    Image result for strauziaDr. Andrew Forbes - Evolution and diversity of parasitic insects


    Candida glabrataDr. Bin He - Evolution of gene regulatory networks for stress response


    apple snail Dr. Douglas Houston - Evolution of development in amphibians and molluscs.


    Image result for virusDr. Drew Kitchen - Emergence and evolutionary rates in viruses


    Image result for meiosisDr. John Logsdon - Molecular evolution of sex and meiosis



    SNAILDr. Maurine Neiman - Evolution of sex in nature


    skeletonDr. Lara Noldner - Human Osteological Documentation and Research with the University of Iowa Stanford Collection


    Dr. Bryan Phillips - Understanding the role of protein aggregation in C. elegans embryonic development


    wormDr. Sarit Smolikove - DNA Damage Repair and Meiosis


    Image result for tumor cellDr. Christopher Stipp - Evolution of tumor heterogeneity


    LeishDr. Mary Wilson - Determinants of disease severity due to infection with the Leishmania species protozoa



    Participants should:

    • be US citizens or permanent residents enrolled at US Universities.
    • be majoring in a STEM field (especially Biology, Biological Anthropology, or Geoscience with a Paleontology emphasis).
    • be available to attend the entirety of the program (May - July, 2024).
    • have a GPA of 3.0 or above.
    • have a background in science coursework. Coursework that connects directly to topics in evolution will be favored. 
    • have a strong work ethic and motivation to learn
    • have an interest in pursuing a career in scientific research.
    • identify three or more potential research mentors from the list above.

    Students from underrepresented minority groups and/or who have limited research opportunities at their home institution are especially encouraged to apply.

    REU Alumni

    Click here to watch the 2019 REU Cohort's research videos

    Click here to view the 2021 REU Cohort's digital posters

    Click here to view the 2022 REU Cohort's digital posters

    Click here to view the 2023 REU Cohort's digital posters


    APPLY HERE for the Summer 2024 Program


    Questions? Contact Dr. Andrew Forbes (

    Funded by the National Science Foundation - Award Numbers 1757334 & 2149361